The Graham Utilities for OS/2: A Review - Part 3

By: Walter Metcalf
Dateline: 01/27/99

Disk and Maintenance Utilities

In my mind at least it is here that we come to the core of the Graham Utilities. Many other utilities in the package are duplicated in other packages such as Gammatech Utilities, GU's most direct competitor¹, and perhaps FileManager/2. However many of the utilities described here perform vital functions not available elsewhere, except in custom-written utilities, such as DFSEE, a disk maintenance utility written by Jan van Wijk.

  1. DiskEdit

    1. This powerful program/command can do everything from simply deleting (obsoleting) a file to destroying your partition table! It can be a very useful function if you understand what you are doing. Just a few of the very useful things it can do are:

      1. (Un)delete a file.

      2. Make your OS/2 partition accessible after installation of Windows.

      3. Edit a sector on a remote (i.e. network) drive.

    2. Note about Locked Files: DiskEdit DOES permit the editing of locked files, i.e. files in use by another process; several visual and audible warnings are issued before actually making the change. Obviously performing such an edit could potentially have disastrous consequences, and should only be done as a last resort and then only after all files have been backed up.

    Before using this useful, but dangerous command, be sure to read the manual description carefully.

  2. DiskImg

    DiskImg is another powerful, unique tool that allows you to image a logical disk or physical disk into a file of your choice. The output of DiskImg can be piped into a compression program such as GZIP or ZIP to produce a compressed file. This file can be transported by diskette, LAN, or the internet to another site and the disk drive completely recreated!

    1. Features

      1. Command-line or Interactive mode:

        • filenames, etc. can be entered interactively or via a command line.

      2. Quiet mode

        • The normal progress display and other screen output can be suppressed.

      3. Read from disk

        • DiskImg can read command-line information from a file on disk.

  3. EABackup/EARestor

    1. A handy pair of utilities that save/restore the Extended Attributes of a group of files from/into one file for processing by a non-EA-aware program (incl. all DOS programs).

    2. Wild cards are supported.

    3. Features include optional deleting EA's after copying and subdirectory recursion.

  4. FAT-BAD

    1. Marks a range of clusters on a FAT partition "Bad" so that the system will not use them.

    2. The cluster(s) must be "Active" when the command is issued or it will be ignored.

  5. FAT-Ext

    Handy utility lets you know in detail how badly defragmented your drive is and, just as importantly, which files are fragmented. Armed with this information you will be able to tell if defragmenting your drive will improve your performance. Supports subdirectory recursion and remote drives.

  6. FAT-Null/HPFS-Null

    Program does a cluster-by-cluster overwrite of all unused clusters on a disk. Areas occupied by data are unaffected. Two types of Null are provided:

    1. -g

      1. Overwrite according to a U.S. government security algorithm.

    2. -v

      1. Specify an overwrite value

        e.g. FAT-Null   -v1

      2. The default value is 0.

    3. -r

      Specify a repeat count for overwriting.


    These programs are relatively conventional. However there are a few features worth noting:

    1. Disk containing files is locked while recovery is in progress;

    2. You have the option of recovering the files in place or copying them to a new device;

    3. Both programs support recreating the original pathname; and

    4. HPFS-UD contains some features that support recovery of files even when the partition table has been damaged.

  8. HPFSInfo

    This program or command gives a detailed report of the Super and Spare Blocks on all HPFS drives on your system. Information in these blocks includes:

    1. Bad sector lists.
    2. Spare directory clusters.
    3. Dynamic hot fix list.
    4. Free spaces
    5. Bitmap sector lists

    Each of the above items can be selected individually or in combination with others.

    Check Appendix G, "HPFSInfo - Report on HPFS Internals" in the Online Manual for complete information.

  9. HPFSStat

    -c -- mark the partition as "Clean"
    -d -- mark the partition as "Dirty"
    -r -- remount the partition

    For our purposes a partition is "Clean" if it has not been written on since a CHKDSK /F was last performed on it. Otherwise it is considered "Dirty".

    The system normally "cleans" "Dirty" partitions after a successful shutdown. If the most recent shutdown was not successful, then you will see the familiar batch of Chkdsk messages the next time the system reboots. The system will not use, or mount a "Dirty" disk.

    Sometimes a disk is so badly damaged that a Chkdsk /f cannot be made to succeed. In such cases you can boot from a floppy, and use this command to mark the bad partition as "Clean" so that you can access your data and back it up.

  10. NullDisk

    There are two main differences between this command and the FAT-Null/HPFS-Null pair described above:

    1. NullDisk provides the ability (in fact it is the default) to erase used as well as unused areas of the disk; and

    2. NullDisk provides a quicker way to clear unused areas, simply by overwriting them with a temporary file which is then deleted. (In this program "wiping" is the equivalent of overwriting in the FAT-Null/HPFS-Null pair.)

    Check the manual for more information.

  11. NullFile

    NullFile either deletes files or first wipes (i.e. overwrites) the data and then delete the files. Wild card and subdirectory recursion are also supported. See the manual for more complete information.

  12. SavePart/RestPart

    These utilities save and restore the partition tables and boot blocks of all the drives in your system. They form part of the disaster recovery system of Graham Utilities--the SavePart was run when you installed GU. (When SavePart is running an an HPFS drive is encountered the Spare and Super Blocks are backed up as well.)

  13. Space

    This utility presents in various formats the total and free space on all the drives it can located in your system.

File and Miscellaneous Utilities

  1. FromUNIX/ToUNIX

    UNIX files signal a line end with a single line feed, whereas OS/2 files use a carriage return followed by a line feed. This utility pair converts files between the two format formats.

  2. HexEdit

    Straight-forward utility that permits editing a file in Ascii or Hex (or both). Especially useful for making manual modification to character or hex strings. Supports Display Ascii/Hex/Both; Jump to Location; and StringSearch functions.

  3. MIDecode/MIEncode

    MIME is popular method of encoding binary files as characters for internet and BBS transmission. MIME allows multiple files to be encoded as one file. This command pair encodes and decodes MIME files; where possible MIDecode decodes all the original files. 6, 7, and 8 bit MIME formats are supported.²

    Next time: Comparison with Gammatech Utilities and Review

¹See next week's issue for a brief point-by-point comparison between Graham Utilities and Gammatech Utilities.

²Note: For the sake of complete disclosure, let me state here that Chris Graharm gave me a free copy of The Graham Utilities for OS/2 for this review . However, I have taken due care not to let this affect my evaluation.

For Further Reading:

BMT Micro: Graham Utilities 2.0 © BMT Micro Inc.

The Graham Utilities for OS/2 - Version 2 © 1998 Chris Graham

GammaTech Utilities - Version 4.0 © 1999 GammaTech, Inc.

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